Monday, 17 October 2005

When the world is running down...

Is it just me or are natural disasters becoming more frequent and more severe? I try to tell myself that there were just as many hurricanes, flash floods, tornadoes and so on thirty years ago as there are now, but somehow that doesn't ring true. Maybe it's just that the media are more adept at reporting such extremes of nature these days; the world is certainly a smaller place than it was in the 1970s and even '80s. Or maybe it's just that we're all more environment-conscious these days, so Hurricane Xanthe battering some Gulf province we've never heard of gets reported in much greater depth than would have been the case in years gone by...

...or maybe it's just that the cumulative effect of too many years' global warming has pushed the planet's delicate equilibrium so far out that when it springs back, it does so with monumental force. If so, how much further do we have to push before the inelastic point is reached, and equilibrium is unrecoverable? I've mentioned this before but I'll mention it again - please take a look at the CRed carbon reduction campaign.

And before anyone writes to harangue me, I'm not trying to pin the earthquake in Pakistan on global warming - I'm just talking severe weather-related events here. I don't believe there's anything to show global warming influences plate tectonics... but I do believe massive pollution and unsustainable deforestation have screwed the climate. I'm not sure what will come first, half the country's roads being flooded as water levels rise or fossil fuels running out - either way, at least domestic pollution will drop somewhat.

Footnote: "When the world is running down you make the best of what's still around" is a very catchy (if excessively titled) song by the always-excellent Police.

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